We’re following the trends this spring and one trend that continues to dominate is the all-white room. Especially the all-white kitchen. Thinking about it now here in Madison, Wisconsin, as our early spring is suddenly snowy and the trees still bare it sounds cold and stark. But a white kitchen can be warm and inviting. The secret? Great lighting techniques that bring each kitchen’s soul to light. As certified lighting specialists, our crew at Madison Lighting is trained to work with builders and designers to provide the right light for every task. Sound simple? Not really. It’s easy to make a mistake in your lighting and end up with shadows and dim spaces instead of well-lit comforting places. Here are a few ideas for getting the right light in your new white kitchen.
The ambient light in a white kitchen is provided by a combo of natural lighting and ceiling fixtures. The more upper cabinets you have the more you need lighting in the form of ceiling pendants, recessed lighting, and even track or multisystem lighting. Fewer upper cabinets means more windows and improved natural light, at least during the day. One caveat here: under-cabinet lighting is one of the best inventions ever and you can’t have it. Getting enough light on your workspace without them is tricky. Right about now you’re thinking, “this project is going to be harder than I thought!” Too much to think about? A lighting expert can help you get plenty of task lighting with or without under-cabinet lights. Do not hesitate to ask us for help and guidance, it’s what we do!
Back to the all-white kitchen. The best white kitchens we’ve seen incorporate more than one shade of white and the addition of natural wood, tile, and stone. And some of the best bring something unexpected to the kitchen: vintage. Don’t roll your eyes here; vintage can be from any decade gone by, with a fresh update, incorporating our very best technology, in an under-wraps way.
One white kitchen we worked on featured painted cabinets on the outside walls and a gorgeous wood island in the center. It was big and a bit rustic made of well-loved wood, polished to a warm, smooth finish as though it had stood there for decades. We embellished the heart of that kitchen with bistro lights in a deep hand-rubbed bronze suspended on brown cord that brought out some of the tone in the wood and pinged off the lighter bronze drawer pulls.
Another kitchen had an almost vintage dressmaker tailoring to the cabinets and island so we brought in the jewelry: champagne gold pendants with fabric shades march down the ceiling over the island. So simple.
And yet another kitchen with its white cabinets and white granite countertops (like marble without the upkeep) has vintage in its DNA. The cabinet’s 1920’s style brought to mind an old butler’s pantry with unfitted cupboards and deeply paneled doors. The kitchen simply had to have old glass and polished chrome lighting.
We’re seeing a single feature wall in many rooms now, kitchens included. Consider old brick or dry-stacked stone, and even the Midwest version of Fixer Upper’s Joanna Barnes’ shiplap. This wall becomes the soul of the room as backdrop to a table and chairs, spectacular artwork, or open shelving that holds a bar or grandma’s vintage mixing bowls. I like to add lighting to these walls, to interesting effect. Sometimes we use light that washes the wall softly so it picks up the shadows and highlights. This adds a lot of dimension and texture. Sometimes in a kitchen that joins contemporary and vintage or warehouse we’ll amp up the modern touch with light. All of these white kitchens have so much style it seems as though adding color would be too much.
The all-white kitchen. After several seasons this trend is still white hot. That’s a sign that this one is here to stay.